U.S. media is reporting that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has said that it is committed to making Islamic Law (Shariah) the main source of a new constitution. According to an Associated Press report:
October 31, 2012 Associated Press CAIRO – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said Wednesday it is committed to enshrining Islamic Shariah law as the main source of a new constitution, seeking to mollify ultraconservative Islamists who accuse the group of not advocating strongly enough for Islamic rule.
Islamic influence in Egypt’s governance is the most inflammatory issue following last year’s ousting of longtime President Hosni Mubarak. Islamists have swept elections since then, and the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi is the president — but the Brotherhood faces criticism from even more stringent Islamists as much as from liberals. Ultraconservatives known as Salafis have pushed for firm language in the new constitution to ensure implementation of Shariah, even calling for demonstrations on Friday.
Top Salafi clerics threatened to rally voters against the constitution when it is put to a vote in a referendum before end of this year, if their demands are not met. Together, Salafis and the Brotherhood dominate the 100-member assembly writing the new constitution. The controversy centers on the phrasing of key articles that expand the role of Islamic Sharia laws. The previous constitution said “the principles of Shariah” are the basis of law in Egypt. Liberals favored such phrasing, which they say allows greater leeway, meaning legislation can meet the broad ideas of Islam. Salafis wanted that changed to “the rulings of Shariah,” implying Egypt’s laws would have to abide by the strict letter of what clerics say is meant in Islamic law. Liberals fear that could bring heavy restrictions on many rights and would forge a new role for religious scholars similar to clerical rule in Iran.